60 years of the SDC
Pierre Aubert, former Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in 1979
1944–48: the Swiss donation
1960 Dienst für technische Hilfe
1960: Service for Technical Assistance
1970: Interkonfessionelle Konferenz Schweiz und Dritte Weltxdc
1970: Switzerland-Third World Interdenominational Conference
From 1980: decentralisation
From 1990: private engagement in Eastern Europe
2001: response to 9/11
2011: the Arab Spring and a new challenge for international cooperation
In March 2011, the Federal Council decided to expand Switzerland's commitment in North Africa in the medium term. The support involved stepping up activities in the areas of democratic transition, economic development, job creation, migration and protection for those in need.
Technische Hilfe der Schweiz
1948: Switzerland's technical assistance
1970–75: first completed projects
From 1980: environmental protection becomes a cross-cutting issue
1991: engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina
2004: tsunami in South Asia
The infrastructure that Swiss Humanitarian Aid rebuilt in South Asia – homes, schools and drinking water treatment plants – enabled those affected to begin a new life after the disaster. In the years that followed, tens of thousands of people in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand had most of their basic needs met thanks to the contributions of the SDC and its partners.
2011: official development assistance raised to 0.5% of GNI
1950: strategic foundations
1961: Die moderne Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
1961: modern development cooperation
From 1971: impact measurement
1982: first deployment of Swiss Rescue
1992: expansion of cooperation with Eastern Europe
2011: response to the effects of the war in Syria
Switzerland has responded actively to the humanitarian needs of people inside Syria and those who have fled the country. It is working in the areas of protection and migration, education and income, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and water and sanitation. It also provides emergency assistance in cases of acute humanitarian crisis in the region. In this way, Switzerland is helping to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis on the ground.
1950-1960: Aufnahme von Studierenden
1950–60: acceptance of students
1964: Kriterien für Schwerpunktländer
1964: criteria for priority countries
1972: steady expansion of development cooperation
1983: country programmes
1995: clear framework for cooperation with Eastern Europe
- Promote and strengthen the rule of law and human rights.
- Build and consolidate democratic institutions.
- Foster sustainable and economic development.
2007: development of the private sector
Every dollar invested in SMEs generates, on average, an additional 12 dollars in the local economy. Employment in the supported SMEs has grown by 25% per year, with 72% of these new jobs going to unskilled or semi-skilled employees. Annual real wage growth during the investment period is 26%.
2013: strategic focus on fragile contexts
Political instability, a lack of legal certainty and poor governance characterise many of Switzerland's fragile partner countries. With almost 50% of the world's population who live below the poverty line living in a fragile context, the SDC is stepping up its involvement in unstable regions such as the Hindu Kush, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia.
1950-1960: Internationale Beiträge
Der Grossteil der Schweizer Beiträge Zwischen 1-4 Millionen CHF pro Jahr, selbst für diese Zeit ein bescheidener Betrag, wendete der Bund für die multilaterale Zusammenarbeit auf. Die Schweiz konnte dadurch von den Erfahrungen der UNO-Organisationen profitieren und zugleich ihren eigenen Verwaltungsaufwand klein halten.
From 1945: technical assistance
1965-1969: Von der Büffelzucht zur Handelsgenossenschaft
1965–69: from buffalo farming to trading cooperatives
1973: the Swiss Disaster Relief Unit
From 1985: clear criteria for selecting priority countries
1. Poor countries have priority.
2. State policies must respect human rights and economic and social development.
3. Swiss support should build on the recipient country's efforts to help itself.
4. Useful cooperation with partners in the developing country must be possible.
2008: response to the financial crisis
2015: humanitarian convoys to eastern Ukraine
In response to a request for assistance, Swiss Humanitarian Aid organised several humanitarian convoys in 2015. These transported the necessary chemicals as well as medical supplies and medicines for hospitals in the region. The Swiss aid reached 3 million people on both sides of the contact line.
Frieden dank Vernetzung
1945: Foundation of the UN
The desire for peace was great after the turmoil of war. The idea that peace can only be permanently maintained through international networking and cooperation was central to this. The United Nations Organisation (UNO), which was founded in 1945, fulfilled this conviction.
1968: Erstes Kooperationsbüro in Indien
1968: first cooperation office in India
1975: focus on poverty reduction
1989: political changes after the fall of the Berlin Wall
1996: the SDC
2008: first cross-departmental strategy on international cooperation
2017: peacebuilding and enhanced cooperation with the private sector
The SDC also set itself the target of doubling the number of partnerships with private sector actors. Government development cooperation alone is not enough to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The private sector has a key role to play in boosting economic activity. In the poorest countries, nine out of ten jobs are created in the private sector. Moreover, its innovation, expertise and resources make a vital contribution. The SDC is therefore stepping up its partnerships with the private sector, for example by working with social enterprises, impact investors and grant-making foundations.
Interessenspolitik der Supermächte
From 1950: Interest policy of the superpowers
1968: Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe
1968: self-help assistance
1977: merging of development cooperation and humanitarian aid
From 1980: debt burden on developing countries
From 1990: less international support for developing countries
2000: development of the Millennium Development Goals
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
2020: COVID-19 pandemic
Switzerland responded quickly and flexibly to this situation. To combat the spread of the coronavirus in developing countries, it adapted its ongoing projects and programmes and took effective action to mitigate the health, economic, political and social impacts of COVID-19 in these countries. Switzerland also supplied medical protective equipment, tests and ventilators to a number of countries, and supported the local production of disinfectants, among other things.
Zusammenarbeit mit privaten Hilfsorganisationen
1957: collaboration with private aid organisations
1972: environmental issues
From 1980: development through economic growth
1993: increase in conflicts and disasters
2005: Paris Declaration
2015: 2030 Agenda
So there is still a need for international cooperation. In September 2015, UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda: with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it represents a milestone in global sustainable development. Switzerland played a key role in the development and negotiation process. The 2030 Agenda incorporates all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – and has universal applicability. This means that all countries and their public, civil society and private partners contribute to achieving the goals.
1957–60: expert missions
1974: UN – clear focus on meeting people's needs
1983: the concept of sustainability
1994: human development
2005: UN Year of Microcredit
Technologies co-developed in Switzerland are improving the living conditions of millions of people in areas such as agricultural technology, healthcare, disaster resilience and access to resources. This is made possible by the innovative research conducted at ETH Zurich and EPFL as well as by international Swiss start-ups and Swiss companies with global operations. Tech4Good's commitment is making a significant contribution to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
1950-1960: Internationale Beiträge
1950–60: international contributions
1976: Development Aid Act
- Focus on poorer developing countries, regions and people
- Foster development in rural areas
- Improve food security through agricultural production
- Promote crafts and trades and local small-scale industry
- Create jobs in developing countries
- Establish and maintain environmental and demographic balance
1994: analysis of political context
2010: MDG+10 Summit
Progress had been made, but a number of activities were still inadequate for meeting the MDGs. Switzerland, which had signed up to the goals, produced its own report in which it identified some weaknesses of the MDGs. For example, too much emphasis was placed on the symptoms of poverty and not enough on the root causes, including a lack of economic development opportunities.